New Westhill firm adds first employee under new scheme

Andrew Henderson is enjoying being part of a new company

Andrew Henderson is enjoying being part of a new company

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A newly formed Westhill business that aims to solve water production issues in the oil and gas industry has added its first employee thanks to a scheme from Business Gateway funded by Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils.

A grant of £1,000 alongside advice and support is available for businesses to take on their first employee through the First Employee Grant Scheme and director of Greenthread Ltd, Ross Clarke, was glad of the assistance.

The 44 year started his business after being immersed in the innovative environment of the oil service industry for over 20 years.

The extraction of oil and gas produces water as a by-product which has to be treated before disposal or re-use and Ross was driven to develop a new company with the ambition to solve this industry challenge through sustainable technology solutions.

He said: “I believe ‘produced water’ will be one of the major issues to overcome within the industry both at present and more so in the future. An opportunity arose to acquire a technology that addresses some specific water production issues, whilst at the same time is extremely environmentally friendly compared to comparative technologies and so a company was born.”

The company was formed in 2011 and was signposted to the first employee grant which Ross said was helpful as he found starting a technology company to be a cost heavy process.

He added: “New businesses shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help and advice as there are a great many support functions available through Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise.”
New employee Andrew Henderson, 26, is a graduate from RGU and started at Greenthread in May. He said: “At the start of 2012 I was looking for a change in direction with my career as since graduating I had solely worked on designing and testing well completion products for the oil and gas industry.

“I wanted to work with new technologies and also get more involved with the project management side of engineering. However I didn’t want to stray too far from my old design engineering role as I enjoyed that part of my job the most.

“Working with a small technology driven start-up company provides the answer. I have new, exciting technology to learn about and work with and project management is now a major part of my role.

“The small work force means I still get to do plenty design work. I am really enjoying working at Greenthread.”
With its first employee now on board Greenthread Ltd has ambitious plans for the future.

The company aims to develop a pilot plant to target specific North Sea issues and create a suite of technology solutions to address all areas of produced water treatments to target global markets.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Peter Argyle said: “The growth of small companies must be nourished and I am delighted to hear of an innovative oil and gas company in Aberdeenshire being supported to expand with assistance from the Business Gateway as well as Scottish Enterprise.

“I encourage more people to consider applying for this worthwhile scheme as it is more than just a cash injection; it provides solid advice and support too.”

Businesses applying for assistance thought the Aberdeen City and Shire First Employee Grant Scheme will be asked to complete an application form and payment of the grant is in two stages with 50% up front when the employee is in place and the balance paid six months later.

Businesses must ensure that this is the first employee of the business and systems must be in place to deduct National Insurance and PAYE.

The employee must not be a partner or investor in the business and must work a minimum of 30 hours per week.

For a copy of the application form and more information contact Business Gateway Manager Sally Collinson on 01224 664771 or at sally.collinson@aberdeenshire.gov.uk